Spiritual Life
10 Life-Changing Spiritual Practices
01Jan 2015
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“The most beautiful thing we can experience in life is the mysterious.
It is the source of all art and science.”

–Albert Einstein

We all share an unquenchable curiosity to learn more about that which is greater and more powerful than ourselves… To explore the deeper side of our human experience… To realize the greatest and highest part of ourselves, and connect to that which created us.

So we’ve outlined 10 Life-Changing Spiritual Practices to bring you deeper into your Spiritual experience, and we’re challenging you to choose ONE and practice it EVERY DAY this month.

The Spiritual Practice of Meditation:

“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.”
– Rumi

Since the dawn of self-awareness there has been a desire to transcend the human condition, and to understand and master the mind.

The mind’s natural impulse is to move forward and outward… to think of the next step, to plan and anticipate, and to find stimulation in the external world.  Though our mind is our primary tool of survival, it can sometimes resemble “a drunken monkey, jumping from tree to tree” as Buddha said. There must be a balance between thinking and silence if we are to experience peace, bliss, and self-mastery.

Meditation helps us create that balance by turning our minds backward and inward, creating an experience of thoughtless awareness.

Meditation can be described as a state of profound, deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent, yet completely alert.

“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there – buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.”
– Deepak Chopra

With all the stresses and strains that modern life places on us, meditation helps us achieve balance physically, mentally and emotionally.

“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy;
Then you should sit for an hour.”

-Old Zen Adage

Meditation allows us to take time away from the demands of our day and return to ourselves. This practice is essential to our happiness and a truly fulfilling spiritual life.

This month, you could commit to practicing meditation every single day.

Daily meditation can have an enormous impact in all areas of your life. Carve out a pre-determined amount of time every day this month (15 minutes is a great starting point), and immerse yourself in the emptiness of your mind.  Be patient with yourself.  In the beginning it may take some effort and feel unnatural.  Remember, the greatest growth occurs outside your comfort zone.  Find a physical position that works for you; some like to sit in Lotus Pose while others prefer to lie on their back.  Whichever position you choose it should be comfortable and enable you to sit with dignity and let yourself float away on the current of quiet consciousness.

Click here for Brian Johnson’s “Meditation 101”… a fantastic resource to jump-start your daily meditation.

 

The Spiritual Practice of Prayer:

Good communication is essential to a good relationship, and the basics of good communication include talking as well as listening.

The same principles apply to our relationship with our creator, whatever that may mean for you.  When a person prays they create an intimate dialogue and connection with their higher power about matters that are close to their heart.

Prayer gives us a chance to examine our lives, admit our faults, seek strength to move forward in the face of adversity, count our blessings, and open our hearts to all that life offers us.

“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

– St. Francis of Assisi

This month, you could commit to praying every single day.

Incorporating daily prayer into our lives can be a vital aspect of spirituality for many of us, bringing us a greater sense of awareness, gratitude, insight and strength. This month, dedicate time to connecting with your source of spirituality and articulating your spiritual experience.

The Spiritual Practice of Forgiveness

Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Isn’t that the truth?  It takes STRENGTH to let go and truly forgive.

Forgiveness isone of the most powerful spiritual practices of all. Whatever it is we’re feeling – anger, resentment, hurt – forgiveness is the path to a lighter heart, increased happiness and a greater sense of inner peace.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you become polished?”
– Rumi

This month, you could commit to practicing forgiveness every single day.

Spend some quality time with yourself, quieting your mind and scanning your emotional state for pockets of negativity.  Identify the root of your pain… Is it with someone else?  Or maybe with yourself?  Take a moment to radiate total forgiveness on that problem and completely melt it away.

Empower yourself to FORGIVE this month.

The Spiritual Practice of Simplifying Your Life:

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.”
– Bruce Lee

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by our society’s never-ending cycle of consumerism. We see things we want, and we buy them. Sometimes we see things we only “kind of, sort of, maybe want,” and we buy them as well. Soon we find ourselves encumbered by our “stuff.”

A cluttered life makes for a cluttered mind. When we clear out the unnecessary things, tasks, people, and self-doubt that hinders our happiness, we allow ourselves to live simply; to take stock in what we want our lives to be full of, and to see the important things clearly.

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace.
A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well being
that places harmony in one’s life.”

Peace Pilgrim

This month, you could commit to simplifying your life every single day.

Sit down first thing in the morning and ask yourself, “How can I simplify my life today?”

– Do you need to purge and cleanse a physical area of your life?
– Maybe limit your to-do list? Cut an activity or two out of your schedule?
– Should you set limitation for yourself (such as checking email, time spent working, etc.)?
– Do you need to say no to others so that you can feel less stress and produce better results?

Set a DAILY intention to keep things extremely simple this month and experience the inner peace and harmony that go along with it.

The Spiritual Practice of Spending Time in Nature:

“Nature tops the list of potent tranquilizers and stress reducers.
The mere sound of moving water has been shown to lower blood pressure.”

– Patch Adams

We spend so much time confined in buildings of steel and concrete and brick that we quickly forget where we truly come from.  Americans, on average, spend 90% of their time indoors.  NINETY PERCENT!

Human beings BELONG in nature.  Our soul begs us to experience the great outdoors… breathing fresh air, listening to the beautiful sounds that echo through the trees, feeling the warm sun on our skin and the grass and dirt beneath our feet.  It just feels so GOOD to be outside.

“The best six doctors anywhere, and no one can deny it,
are sunshine, water, rest, and air, exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend, if only you are willing.

Your mind they’ll ease, your will they’ll mend,
and charge you not a shilling.”

-Wayne Fields

This month, you could commit to spending time in nature every single day.

Make nature an integral part of your life during the month of May. And make it a CONSCIOUS experience. Breathe the fresh air… Feel the sunshine on your skin… Feel Earth under your feet… Hear the birds, the breeze, the rustle in the leaves…

You can also increase the quality of your activities by bringing them outside.  Instead of exercising at the gym, go for a run or a bike ride.  Plant a garden and nourish yourself with a meal directly from your backyard.  Engage all your senses and fill yourself with appreciation for the beautiful world you live in.

The Spiritual Practice of Living in the Now:

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment
is the only one you know you have for sure.”

-Oprah Winfrey

We spend so much time preparing for the future that often times, we miss out on what is happening RIGHT NOW. Being fully present allows us to step back and appreciate the lives we have worked so hard for, and to see the beauty that lies hidden in each passing experience.

This month, you could commit to living in the now every single day.

Master the art of living in the present moment.  Allow yourself to experience a free and peaceful mind, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.  Release the tasks, thoughts, and memories that race through your mind… Remove your attention from the past and the future, and focus solely on the moment you find yourself in.  Work toward a clear mind and a relaxed body.  The goal is to be totally and completely immersed in the task at hand, without distraction, prejudice or anticipation.

“Goals and contingencies are important, but they exist in the future and the past.
The path of mastery exists only in the present. You can see it, hear it, smell it, feel it.
To love the present is to love the eternal now,
to enjoy the inevitable spurts of progress and the fruits of accomplishment,

then serenely to accept the new present that waits just beyond them.
To love the present is to love what is most essential and enduring in your life.”

– George Leonard from ‘Mastery’

The Spiritual Practice of Following Your Bliss:

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you
where there were only walls.”

– Joseph Campbell

Through the identification and expression of our passion, we plug ourselves directly into who and what we are at the deepest level possible, and can ultimately define why we are here… our reason for existing and evolving as human beings.

Bliss is what makes the ride worthwhile.  Finding what we love to do and doing it allows each day to pull us forward and closer to the life we want to be living.

This month, you could commit to following your bliss every single day.

Align your spirit with your outer world by identifying the things you are most passionate about, and implementing at least one of them into your daily experience this month.  Ask yourself – what kinds of activities light you up?  What experiences set your soul on fire?  What makes you feel fully awakened and alive? Then, DO more of those things every single day.

“Perfect self expression will never be labor; but of such absorbing interest that it will seem almost like play.”
– Florence Scovel Shinn

The Spiritual Practice of Giving:

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
– Maya Angelou

There is great peace and wisdom to be found in thinking and caring about other people, which we can often be blind to, when we become consumed with ourselves and our own lives.

Giving to others creates an internal sense of goodness, significance and value, which are foundational qualities for self-esteem and inner peace.

Every time you interact with someone, you have the opportunity to give some kind of value to that person. Whether it is a thing, a thought, a gesture, or a kind word… the most powerful gifts are those that come directly from the heart.

As the joy of giving flows out from you, new richness fills your life.

“The more you give, the more you have.
And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead,
the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This month, you could commit to giving every single day.

Be attentive for opportunities to help someone, to contribute, and make the world a better place.

Make it a mission to change people’s attitudes about the world through your subtle and unconditional acts of kindness.

Whether it’s spending an hour of your time with someone who needs it, or giving a stranger a genuine smile, use this month to GIVE the very best within you to everyone you meet.

The Spiritual Practice of Self-Acceptance:

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection.”

– Buddha

The single most important relationship in your entire life is the relationship you have with yourself.  It is the core of your entire experience – the place from which love of others stems from. As Ayn Rand said, “To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.’

If we can learn to treat ourselves with the same love and respect that we give to others… To step back and welcome our emotions freely… To judge ourselves less harshly… To find inner joy in being exactly who we are… only then we can experience true happiness and harmony.

To accept and love others we must first learn how to accept and love ourselves.

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”
Marcus Aurelius

This month, you could commit to self-acceptance every single day.

Be willing to embrace your faults and grow from them.  Free yourself from self-doubt and self-criticism.  Spend time each day quieting your mind and focusing on something you really, truly love about yourself.  Make a list of the things you’re most proud of in your life.  Bathe yourself in self-love everyday this month.

Click here to watch a beautifully moving video on the importance of self-image.

The Spiritual Practice of LivingHealthier:

“If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.”
-Walt Whitman

When it comes to spirituality you are not merely a soul or a spirit.  You are an embodied human being, and your body is your temple – the vehicle through which you experience life on this Earth.

All the power and energy in the universe is present within every cell of your being.  By exploring and nurturing your physical experience you can create a direct connection with that cosmic energy.  This can be one of the most overwhelmingly powerful and spiritual experiences we can ever have.

“You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

– Rumi

This month, you could commit to living healthier every single day.

Become conscious of ways you can deeply honor your body this month.  Experience more physical motion – exercise more and create movement in your life.  Release yourself from negative habits such as smoking, drinking too much, biting your nails, overeating…  Practice deep breathing and bring fresh oxygen to every cell in your body. Make empowered eating choices by consuming energizing, living foods.

Treat your body like the irreplaceable sacred space that it is this month.

1 comment “10 Life-Changing Spiritual Practices”

  • eric
    June 8, 2015
    12:10 pm

    THANK YOU FOR ALL THESE MESSAGES.

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